What a special day for students and adults alike! February 8, Talya Tate Boerner, a woman who has wanted to write all of her life, visited Marvell Academy students and Marvell Public Library to talk about her first book, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee.
Talya was reared in Keiser, Arkansas (Mississippi County), on a farm in the Delta. She graduated from Baylor University in Texas with a degree in Economics because her dad insisted. Then, she worked for thirty years in the commercial banking business in Dallas. Several years ago her father-in-law encouraged her to follow her dream of writing. At this point in her life, her two children were grown and she could afford to follow her dream. She and her husband moved back to Arkansas, to Fayetteville, where they now reside, and she began to write her first novel.
During the morning, Talya spoke to the ninth and the twelfth grade English classes at Marvell Academy, talking about her love of writing and reading. She encouraged students to read and to write. She talked about her first book and what has made it such a success. Marvell Academy then hosted three sixth graders - Reese Schaffhauser,, McKenzie Beliew and Preston Harpole - to join Author Talya, English teachers Leigh Ann Lammers and Allison Kale, three Marvell Library Book Club members - Rose Kemmer, Pam Culp, and Edwynne Story - along with Headmaster Dr. Susan Ligon to a delicious box lunch in the library. This was a more informal setting for everyone to get to know Talya better.
At 2:00 P.M. Talya was center stage at the February meeting of the Marvell Book Club.
The fourteen members had all read her book and could not wait to discuss it with her. Other guests who love to read joined Club members to hear Talya talk about her life and her book.
Talya signed the books the Book Club had bought as well as sold first edition, hardback books to those interested. Three publishers told Talya that her book would sell better if not written as a memoir, so she rewrote the book as fiction and has won many prestigious awards for her story. Many of the characters are based on people she has known for many years.
Talya's book was set in the early 70s. Talk about a walk down memory lane for those at Book Club. There is so much wonderful humor in this book, too. Gracie Lee is a ten-year-old little girl who is precocious and speaks her mind. You will laugh and laugh out loud at what she says and thinks! This book is about a young family whose life centers on home, church and school. However, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee is realism. No family is perfect.
Talya is a regular contributor to DELTA CROSSROADS and FRONT PORCH MAGAZINE. Her work has been published in Arkansas Review, Postcard Shorts, and the Write Life. Talya's love of food, farming, and nature is evident on her personal lifestyle blog, "Grace, Grits and Gardening." She loves to cook and believes most any dish can be improved with a side of collard greens. You can read more at GraceGritsGarden.com and TalyaTateBoerner.com
Talya will soon be publishing her second book and Marvell Book Club has already asked her to return to Marvell to discuss it!